I've noticed that a some shortcut icons on my desktop will randomly change to other icons on my desktop.

Example: I have a shortcut to Cygwin, Git, Computer, Documents, Chrome, etc. The Cygwin shortcut will start off as the correct icon, however, after some restarts the Cygwin icon will change to the Chrome icon, then the Computer icon, then the Git Bash icon. It's completely random and never stops changing. Once the icon changes from the original, it never goes back to it's original state.

I'm using Windows 7 RTM Enterprise and I can remember this happening since Windows XP.

Any thoughts?

  • ryan, mind selecting one of these as a solution if you have been able to resolve this? – Joshua K Nov 9 '09 at 19:49

This is usually because ShellIconCache is corrupt.

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I have read somewhere in the distant past about icon corruption, but that's not very useful, I know.

In earlier versions of Windows (XP, 2000, 9x), I would use TweakUI to change the arrow overlay for shortcuts, and that usually forced the icon cache to rebuild.

Then there is this: Corrupted Shortcut Icons on the Desktop When Switching to Large Icons, but it's probably not what you're looking for.

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  • I reformatted less than 24 hours ago with Windows 7 Enterprise x64, I've only installed Chrome, Visual Studio 2008 Professional, MSDN, and Direct X SDK March 2009. The icon in question at the moment is one to DevKitPro, started normally, than I installed Adobe Reader and now it's the same icon as the users folder on my desktop (The folder with the guy with the green shirt) Seems strange that the icon cache could get corrupted so easily. – Ryan Kearney Sep 9 '09 at 14:50
  • Also, on a side note, I just realized switching to Large Icons does nothing, however, switching to Small Icons restores the appropriate icon. – Ryan Kearney Sep 9 '09 at 14:55
  • So moving from small to large and back again is a workaround. To answer your previous comment, though, I've seen icon corruption on Windows happen very quickly. – user3463 Sep 9 '09 at 15:16
  • The proper icon will ONLY appear if I use small icons. Once I go back to Medium or Large the icons become a random icon on my desktop again. – Ryan Kearney Sep 9 '09 at 17:04
  • Try find a tool that will rebuild the icon cache. That is my only suggestion. – user3463 Sep 9 '09 at 17:54

Are all the icons coming from the same dlls/exes? I could see if they were using the same shared dll and that file changed the icons would in turn also change.

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  • As of right now I have the following shorcuts. User Folder Computer Recycle Bin Adobe Reader 9 Shortcut DevKitPro Shortcut Google Chrome Shortcut Remember The Milk Google Gears Shortcut 2 Folder Shortcuts Now the DevKitPro is the only icon that changes. Other shortcuts I remember having problems with is, I think, Cygwin. Now, I just deleted and rebuilt the icon cache and the icon was restored, however, after maximizing Chrome and doing a little web surfing, I minimized Chrome to find out DevKitPro has taken the Adobe Reader icon. Did a little more web surfing, and now it became the RTM icon. – Ryan Kearney Sep 9 '09 at 15:18
  • Wow I was hoping it was an easy exe/dll mixup. I have never seen that happen but I also don't use the software you listed. – user10547 Sep 9 '09 at 22:34

Personilize - Display. Change from whatever it is set to, allow log off. Do the same thing again changing back to original.

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